Word of the Day

Monday, May 13, 2019

JOMO

[ joh-moh ]

noun

Slang.

a feeling of contentment with one’s own pursuits and activities, without worrying over the possibility of missing out on what others may be doing.

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What is the origin of JOMO?

JOMO, the acronym for “the joy of missing out,” and its opposite, FOMO “the fear of missing out,” both entered English around the same time, in the early years of the 21st century.

how is JOMO used?

Don’t think of JOMO as a detox, but more like an integral part to a healthy, well-balanced nutrition plan for your brain.

Hayley Phelan, "How to Make This the Summer of Missing Out," New York Times, July 12, 2018

JOMO allows us to live life in the slow lane, to appreciate human connections, to be intentional with our time, to practice saying “no” ….

Kristen Fuller, "JOMO: The Joy of Missing Out," Psychology Today, July 26, 2018
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

mother wit

[ muhth-er wit ]

noun

natural or practical intelligence, wit, or sense.

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What is the origin of mother wit?

Mother knows best, as they say. In mother wit, the word mother means “innate, inborn.” Wit comes from a very widespread Proto-Indo-European root weid-, woid-, wid– “to see, know.” This root appears in Latin vidēre “to see,” Sanskrit veda “knowledge,” Greek ideîn (and dialect wideîn) “to know” (literally “to have seen”), Slavic (Czech) vědět “to know” and vidět “to see.” From wid– Germanic (Old English) has the verb witan “to know.” In Old English the first and third person singular form was wāt “I know; he/she/it knows,” which survives today as the obsolete word wot (“God wot”). Mother wit entered English in the 15th century.

how is mother wit used?

… not one of the rest of us had the guts, the gumption, or the mother wit to recognize where all four of us were headed and drag the fool to a stop.

David Weber, How Firm a Foundation, 2011

One’s mother wit was a precious sort of necromancy, which could pierce every mystery at first sight ….

Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Devereux, 1829
Saturday, May 11, 2019

motte

[ mot ]

noun

Chiefly Southwestern U.S.

a grove or clump of trees in prairie land or open country.

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What is the origin of motte?

Motte is a word that may cause food fights in reference libraries among etymologists. Motte, “a grove or stand of trees in prairie land or open country,” is a regionalism in the American Southwest, especially in Texas. The origin of motte may be from Mexican Spanish mata, from European Spanish mata “grove, plantation,” and perhaps from Late Latin matta, source of English mat. Other authorities say that motte is not a borrowing from Spanish but from French motte “hillock, mound” (English moat), related to Medieval Latin mota “hill, mound, fortified height” (further etymology is speculative). Motte entered English in the 19th century.

how is motte used?

We came up finally to a place where the road made a bend around a motte of trees, and I thought I ought to be able to find it again.

Elmer Kelton, Joe Pepper, 1975

They’d camped at the edge of a motte, a thick grove of oak trees, not too far from the Arroyo Colorado …

Larry D. Sweazy, The Gila Wars, 2013

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